Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of Juda Fist! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of this story, and what was its inspiration?
Mark C. Dudley: Juda Fist is about a man (literally) unstuck in time, who unconsciously uses his love for family to center himself. Amaru Jones is a bio-weaponized guy from today, who after a battle with a secret black bag organization wakes up in 2070. As he travels this new world, he finds that he has family left. 2 grandnieces and a nephew. As he works to figure out this new world and his place in it, he also has to teach, guide, and later protect these kids. The inspiration for the story is my love for the potential of kids. They don’t bring any baggage with them. It is amazing to listen to them and feel the purity of their hopes and dreams, no matter what circumstances they find themselves in.
BD: How would you describe your shared creative process in bringing this story to life?
MCD: I have found relatively recently that I am more a writer than a visual artist, thus the writing process is very important. My characters have to breathe. They have to be vibrant with the idiosyncrasies of the most interesting people I can think of from my childhood. Believe me, I grew up in the midst of a menagerie of characters, all of which taught me lessons. I am also a huge student of “Blaxplotation” and Hong Kong Cinema, which both have very interesting and organic characters.
Even though I love writing, I am still an avid student and revere and respect the penciling process. I’m pretty meticulous with my foundational work as that makes it easier when you get to the finishes. Do it right early and you won’t have to worry about it later.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that this story will connect with and impact readers?
MCD: I am on the board of a local vocational program where kids learn graphic design and actual printing techniques hands-on. One of my long-time friends teaches the class and he called me a few days ago and explained to me that one of his students read a copy of Juda Fist and he found her crying. She explained that the very same thing that happened to the kids on the page happened to her. So, in essence, I think, even though it’s Afrofuturism, the story’s ability to still remain grounded in the familiar gives it a realness that I think people can relate to - thus opening the larger world of the story better for them.
BD: How many chapters do you envision for this first story arc?
MCD: The first arc is 3 chapters. It introduces us to the world, the dilemma our protagonist faces, and the stakes if he doesn’t get what he is searching for. It also helps you to get to know the characters, both protagonist and antagonist, as it relates to the type of people they are.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
MCD: I am drawing a superhero comedy created by my letterer, Joe Cain, called Paragon Panic. It’s inspired by Japanese Sentai Shows.
I am also art directing an underground hip-hop-inspired manga called Killbox written by Ervin Johnson, which I think is really going to be different and generate a buzz.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Juda Fist: 7 Deaths of the Yobi - Chapter 1?
MCD: Most of that information is going to be on the webcomic site for the comic, as it comes out in webcomic form first and is collected into hard copy at the end of each chapter.
You can also go to the Website of our crew Imaginos Workshop (www.imaginosworkshop.com) for the latest news.
Thank you all for letting me talk about my work here. I really appreciate the opportunity.